Sunderland Primary Schools Boys have a home Derwent and Medomsley Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough to look forward to.
After drawing away to South Northumberland, the Wearsiders eased to a 5-1 victory in the replay at Nissan.
In a tight first half, Sunderland were indebted to keeper Nathan Musgrove, making his first appearance after regular keeper Tye Dobbs broke his foot, who made a number of excellent saves to keep the scores level.
Sunderland took the lead shortly before the break when Callum Hughes’s cross was turned into his own goal by a visiting defender.
South Northumberland started the second half very strongly and equalised when a shot from outside the area gave Musgrove no chance as it nestled in the top corner.
The city side responded well, though, and regained the lead through a piece of magic from Hughes who, despite running away from goal, flicked the ball over the defender’s head before volleying it across the keeper and into the far corner.
Jack Waller made it 3-1 when he found space at the back post to head in a pinpoint Callum Stanton corner.
Alfie Hodgson was fouled in the box and picked himself up to crash home the resulting penalty. Waller completed the scoring when excellent work from John Felton-Doyle set him up to poke home at the near post to cement a 5-1 victory.
Sunderland are involved in the play-off stage of the Harrison Cup, and have started with two draws.
They kicked off with a very frustrating 1-1 draw against Stockton at Nissan.
Sunderland first threatened when Riley Mouat’s free-kick from distance drew a save from Stockton’s keeper.
Stockton took the lead when the home defence failed to clear, after a great Musgrove save, and the ball was returned to the back post where a visiting forward bundled it home.
Sunderland started the second half excellently and equalised within a minute, as Hughes raced onto Mouat’s through ball to poke home past the advancing keeper.
From that point, it was all Sunderland, with the home team failing to convert a series of excellent crosses from wide men Kailem Beattie and Alfie Burnside.
Waller headed a Beattie cross into the side netting before Beattie himself, on the end of an awful bounce off the surface, failed to convert from close range.
Despite creating a number of chances, Sunderland had to settle for the draw.the The Wearsiders then shared the spoils at Darlington.
The hosts, beaten only by Sunderland in the group stage, had lost their first two play-off matches, so the pressure was on.
Darlington’s attack was comfortably handled by a back three of Stanton, Will Murphy and Adam Anderson and Sunderland took the lead shortly before the break when a header from skipper Jack Patterson released Hughes, who outpaced the home defence before crashing the ball past the keeper for a 1-0 half-time lead.
Darlington equalised in controversial fashion when the home forward was flicked past Musgrove, despite standing yards offside in the six-yard box. Protests were waved away as the goal stood.
Fired up by a sense of injustice, Sunderland roared back into the lead when Beattie shot home from the edge of the area.
Beattie made it 3-1, crashing the ball home from the penalty spot.
The home side pulled a goal back amid further controversy, Sunderland claiming clear offside, then levelled at 3-3 from the edge of the box when the visitors failed to clear their lines from a home corner.
Sunderland kept pouring forward and deep into injury time a Waller flick released Felton-Doyle. He outpaced the home defence before firing wide with only the home keeper to beat, ensuring a share of the points.
At half-term, Sunderland played two games against Wirral Primary schoolboys in a repeat of October’s fixture on Merseyside which Wirral won 2-0.
At Castle View, the boys entertained Wirral Under-10s and, despite taking a 3-0 half-time lead courtesy of goals from Hughes, Waller and Felton-Doyle, a second-half horror show saw Wirral score four goals to win 4-3.
The following morning, at Silksworth Sports Complex, the boys fought out an entertaining 0-0 draw against Wirral Under-11s in a wind-affected match.
The games are now set to become annual affairs, further developing the bond between the two Associations.